BMW has shared the first look at the Mini Concept Aceman: the first all-electric crossover model in the new Mini family.
The fully-electric crossover is set to begin production by the end of 2024 and will mark a new era of electrification for the brand. To date, Mini has only released an electrified version of its original hatchback, but the manufacturer is now pivoting towards the compact electric crossover segment.
Measuring at 1.99 metres wide and 1.59 metres tall, the Concept Aceman offers four doors and seating for five, with the design of the car tailored to create the maximum amount of space for occupants and luggage, with minimal surface area.
The size and scale of the vehicle is similar to the Countryman, but Mini has taken a bold new approach to the design of it second electric vehicle.
“The design language of the MINI Concept Aceman heralds the beginning of a new design era for MINI,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.
“We are returning to these now, but at the same time consistently combining them innovative technology.”
Other exterior design features include strongly contoured wheel arches, large wheels, roof rack, and front and rear valance panels styled as an underride protection
The Concept Aceman also features typical EV-specific design features, such as a coloured-grille and LED contour lighting, to make this Mini completely unique across the exisiting lineup.
In the words of Mini, “the brand’s iconic design features have been reinterpreted to reflect its crossover characteristics and all-electric drive.”
Hints of the core Mini DNA remain, however, including the Union Jack lights at the rear, with the brand resisting the urge to introduce a full-width light bar across the back end like many EVs.
However, whilst the Concept Aceman has acknowledged certain parts of its heritage, it has largely moved away from the classic design, with elements that create a new language all together.
It is a classic Mini at first glance, but on closer inspection, certain elements such as the new design of the 20-inch light-alloy wheels and the increased outer surface of the bonnet give this a whole new aesthetic.
“The MINI Concept Aceman provides an initial glimpse of a completely new vehicle, bridging the space between the MINI Cooper and the MINI Countryman in the model family’s future,” said Stefanie Wurst, Head of the MINI Brand. “This concept car reflects how MINI is reinventing itself for its all-electric future and what the brand stands for: an electrified go-kart feel, an immersive digital experience and a strong focus on a minimal environmental footprint.”
The Aceman is defined by a “reduced design language,” and this approach has also been taken with the interior, with a cockpit that has been stripped back to the “bare essentials.”
“In the interior of the MINI Concept Aceman, we have concentrated on a simplistic appearance in combination with premium materials and welcoming colours. Digitisation enables us to make do with few operating elements and at the same time to maximise the experience in a way that is characteristic of MINI,” explained Oliver Heilmer. “The entire design is all about offering occupants a holistic experience in the interior space.”
Wide-open and gently curved surfaces are accentuated by a large panoramic glass roof to flood the interior with natural light. The dashboard is a flat design element styled like a sound bar that extends across the entire width of the interior in front of the driver and front passenger seats. The dashboard is connected via a support structure which, like the roof rack, displays the Union Jack pattern.
The dashboard features a large, round OLED monitor which is the central interface of the cockpit, and is controlled by a toggle switch bar to bring a combination of state-of-the-art digitalisation and analogue functionality with physical switches. The redesigned toggle switches operate the parking brake, select gears, activate and deactivate the drive, select Experience Modes and adjust the audio system volume. Each toggle is individually designed as a rotary knob or toggle switch for the most intuitive operation.
Mini is the world’s first car manufacturer to present a circular OLED display that takes up the entire surface of the central interface. OLED technology gives the display a particularly high-quality appearance and can display strong contrasts and deep blacks. The user interface also features a completely new graphic display, based on the latest generation of the MINI Operating System, which for the first time is built on an Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software stack.
The public will get its first sight of the MINI Concept Aceman at the gamescom 2022 computer and video games fair in Cologne. The international gathering of developers, publishers, experts and aficionados of the gaming and E-Sports scene will begin on 23 August 2022 with a livestream and then continue until 28 August 2022 at the Cologne Exhibition Centre.